Every time I boot from the Live CD or DVD for Linux Mint 12 or 13rc (both x86_64) I get the Live CD menu, select "Start Linux Mint", and it immediately gives a light gray screen with a white blinking cusor. The disk light continues to go for a minute or so, then stops. I can CTL-ALT-DEL, wait a while, then hit ENTER, and the system shuts down. That tells me something is happening. I have tried it from the Live CD/DVD (4 downloads), have copied the ISO to a spare drive, and have also made a bootable USB stick. All behave exactly the same.
The hardware is relatively new: i7-2600 16GB RAM, 2 1TB disks, 1 500GB disk (the target). I have installed Windows 7, Ubuntu 11.04, 11.10, 12.04, Debian Squeeze without any problems in the last few days. I decided after the Ubuntu 12.04 upgrade that their efforts to drive away Gnome users had finally paid off, and went looking for something else, but I have an nVidia dual head arrangement that requires the nVidia proprietary drivers. Ubuntu is really good with that process.
If anyone has encountered such a problem, I would be interested in any input. No hurry, I have about 100,000 other distributions to try still.